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Bartholomew and Michel Family Papers
mssHM 75393-75636  
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Bartholomew and Michel Family Papers
    Dates: 1847-1913
    Collection Number: mssHM 75393-75636
    Creator: Bartholomew family

    Michel family
    Extent: 270 items
    Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Manuscripts Department
    1151 Oxford Road
    San Marino, California 91108
    Phone: (626) 405-2191
    Email: reference@huntington.org
    URL: http://www.huntington.org
    Abstract: Correspondence between three generations of the Michel and Bartholomew families, ranging from 1847-1913. Both families were highly educated, literate, and interested in politics, which is apparent in many of their writings. Topics covered in the letters include courtships, family relations, life in California in the 1880s, female college students at Urbana and Bryn Mawr University, the 1884 presidential election, and Swedenborigan philosophy. Also includes some photographs and ephemera.
    Language of Material: The records are in English.


    Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, contact Reader Services.

    Administrative Information

    Publication Rights

    The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Bartholomew and Michel family papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

    Acquisition Information

    Purchased from Mrs. Agatha F. Mackie and Leland B. Fogg, September 8, 1992.

    Biographical Note

    Mary Eletra Loveridge Michel (1828-1883) was born in Virginia, although her parents were natives of Massachusetts. Like many of her female descendants, Mary was an avid reader and follower of the Swedish philosopher Emanuel Swedenborg. She had a least one brother, John Loveridge, who died of illness in Kentucky. Sometime after 1847 Mary married Dr. Robert B. Michel (1824-1896), who was born in Pennsylvania to a French father and American mother and served in the Confederate Army with the 2nd Mississippi State Cavalry. Robert’s sister Elizabeth Michel Blair (1825-c.1925) married John Blair (1819-1894) in 1844. Robert also had at least two brothers, William A. Michel (who traveled to California in 1853) and James G. Michel. Robert and Mary had at least four children: Ralph, Mary, Annie, and Elizabeth. Dr. Ralph S. Michel (1851-1933) married Genevieve “Jennie” Gebhard (1871-1948). Both are buried in Springboro Cemetery, Warren County, Ohio. Annie Michel was born in Ohio in 1863 and may have married a man named Miller. Elizabeth Michel McKeown (b.1867) attended Urbana University and married John McKeown.
    Mary M. Michel Bartholomew (Oct.21, 1858-July 13, 1912) was Mary and Robert Michel’s oldest daughter. She married Dr. James N. Bartholomew in Springboro, Ohio, in September 1884 and moved with him to Los Alamos, California, where Dr. Bartholomew practiced medicine in a rural area. Mary spent much of her time homesick, and wrote often to her sisters and close friend Florence Bedford. By the mid-1880s the Bartholomews had moved to Ohio, where their oldest child, Mary Eleanor, was born in 1885. Their son Robert was born on December 30, 1890, and attended Purdue University.
    The Bartholomews’ daughter Mary Eleanor Bartholomew, known as Eleanor, was born on December 30, 1885, in Trenton, Ohio. She attended Lakeview High School in Chicago and the Pratt Institute High School in Brooklyn, New York. She graduated from Bryn Mawr College with a bachelor’s degree in Latin and English in 1909. Following her graduation she taught English at the Baldwin School in Bryn Mawr for two years. She appears to have married a man named Fogg. She died in Pasadena, California, in March 1970.

    Scope and Content

    The collection includes correspondence between three generations of the Michel and Bartholomew families, ranging from 1847-1913. Both families were highly educated, literate, and interested in politics, which is apparent in many of their writings. The earliest letters were written by Mary Eletra Loveridge to Robert B. Michel during their courtship in 1847. Mary specifically writes of her interest in Emanuel Swedenborg (“in [his writings] I think I have discovered many truths”), her religious disagreements with her mother, her loneliness and lack of female friends (“I should like to have one friend of my own sex, to whom I should not be afraid to say any thing”), of her love of books (including Alexandre Dumas and Charles Dickens), and of multiple local deaths from cholera. Also included is a letter from Mary’s mother L.R. Loveridge informing Mary of the death of her brother John.
    Other courtship letters include those between Mary M. Michel and James Bartholomew in the early 1880s, which particularly highlight the 1884 presidential election. James writes of Ben Butler (1884 Presidential nominee for the Greenback-Labor Party), his political disagreements with his father (“he’s a Republican Democratic Independent”), his anxiousness to get married soon, and the need for him to travel to California as soon as possible. Later letters written to Mary after their marriage recount his 1893 travels through London, Paris, Vienna, and parts of Germany, as well as his return to the United States aboard the ship Alaska. Mary writes of her love of books (including Charlotte Bronte, George Eliot, and Charles Dickens), her thoughts on the election, and notes on a variety of friends and family members. In letters written from California to her sisters Annie and Elizabeth from 1884 to 1886, Mary writes of her first impression of California (“Ohio is a beautiful place, [but] surely California is the garden spot of the earth,” she enthused, although she later referred to Los Alamos as a “godless little place”), reminiscences of their childhood, her guilt at leaving her sister Annie at home following the death of their mother in 1883 (“it seems to have been cruel and selfish and hard-hearted and everything else for me to have gone off!”), of problems with their father (“Does Father ever mention me? And I wonder if his conscience hurts him, but I dare say not”), her first experience with an earthquake on April 19, 1885 (“It was something like a huge wave, I can’t describe it…a horrible sensation”), the hardships of being a doctor’s wife, her dining companions (including a “young Spanish fellow, handsome as a picture” and “one very good looking gentleman from New Orleans”), and candid descriptions of neighbors and acquaintances (at one dinner party she encountered a man from San Francisco “who is on trial for buying…Spanish votes for $2 a piece…[his] wife is another man’s mistress over in Lompee”). Later letters to her daughter Mary Eleanor Bartholomew focus on family and community activities and the experiences of her son Robert.
    The collection also includes a long series of letters written from Mary Eleanor Bartholomew to her brother Robert, both while she was at school in Brooklyn and when she was attending Bryn Mawr. In addition to notes on family and school acquaintances, Eleanor’s letters cover a wide variety of topics, including descriptions of Brooklyn, her busy college schedule, her trips to the Bronx Zoo, a “lady lion tamer,” Japanese jujitsu, and a French Twelfth Night Party she attended.
    Other notable items in the collection include a letter from William A. Michel to his brother Robert written in 1853 when William was traveling through Council Bluffs and Jefferson City aboard the “Polar Star” steamship on his way to California; an 1884 letter to Mary Michel Bartholomew from a friend who notes “a trip to California doesn’t mean as much in these days of steam and electricity;” a letter from Ralph Michel to his sister Mary in which he writes that “I don’t often see father – in fact I don’t want to see him very often until after the [1884] election ... His democracy is of that kind that is called aggressive;” a few photographs of Mary Michel Bartholomew, Mary Eleanor Bartholomew, and an unidentified Michel man; a cookbook kept by Robert Michel’s sister Elizabeth Michel Blair apparently in the 1830s and 1840s; and some Confederate printed money collected by Robert Michel in Mississippi.


    Correspondence is arranged chronologically in four boxes.

    Indexing Terms

    Personal Names

    Butler, Benjamin F. (Benjamin Franklin), 1818-1893.

    Corporate Names

    Bryn Mawr College.
    Urbana University (Urbana, Ohio).


    College students--19th century--Correspondence
    College students--20th century--Correspondence.
    Cooking--United States--History--19th century.
    Domestic relations--California.
    Domestic relations--Ohio.
    Swedenborgian women.
    Transatlantic voyages.

    Geographic Areas

    Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)--Description and travel.
    California--Description and travel.
    England--Description and travel.
    Los Alamos (Calif.)--History.


    Ephemera--United States--19th century.
    Letters (correspondence)--California--19th century.
    Letters (correspondence)--Kentucky--19th century.
    Letters (correspondence)--New York--19th century.
    Letters (correspondence)--Ohio--19th century.
    Letters (correspondence)--Ohio--20th century.
    Letters (correspondence)--Pennsylvania--19th century.